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Munoz050218SPRINGFIELD – Assistant Illinois Senate Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) is working to close a loophole that allows car thieves to avoid accountability in court.

Currently, officers are required to establish if the person driving a stolen vehicle has “knowledge” that the vehicle is stolen or converted in order to pursue charges. Knowledge is especially difficult to prove when the driver has the keys to a stolen vehicle, as occurs when a vehicle is obtained after a carjacking.

“Current law makes it too easy for car thieves to avoid taking full responsibility for their crimes,” Munoz said. “This measure gives law enforcement the tools to hold offenders accountable and get justice for car owners who are victims to these crimes.”

Senate Bill 2339 changes the law so “knowledge” that a vehicle is stolen may be inferred from surrounding facts and circumstances, which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the vehicle was stolen.

The legislation also creates a new process to deal with minors held for carjacking or possession of a stolen motor vehicle. The change would require minors charged with those crimes to be evaluated and given access to counseling and other recommended services.

The plan will now move to the House for consideration.

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